Trip Number: 12655B
Staff: Chip Wolfe
- Explore the heart of Fjord Norway by train, boat, and foot
- Travel by train over the "Roof of Norway," the Hardanger Plateau,
and the famous Flåm Railway
- Hike mountain trails viewing glaciers, waterfalls, wildflowers, mountain
villages, and fruit farms
- View the mighty Jostedal glacier
- All lodging, on-trip transportation, gratuities, and most meals
- All activities and entrance fees as listed in the brochure
- Local, English-speaking guides
This trip includes an exceptional combination of history, culture, outdoor
activities and stunning scenery that highlights some of the best Norway has
to offer. It includes both cosmopolitan Oslo with art and history museums, restaurants
and cafes, as well as the historic city of Bergen where the past and present
are intertwined. Norway's nature is the focus during several days of guided
hiking, boating the fjords, and viewing spectacular scenery by train. This unique
travel experience includes traditional Norwegian cuisine and lodging, meeting
local residents, and unforgettable landscapes.
Photo: Fred Weber
Please note: This trip starts and ends in two different cities. We'll arrive
in Bergen and depart from Oslo.
The following is a tentative itinerary. As with all trips, some changes may
Day 1: Arrive in Bergen.
Upon your individual arrival in Bergen, you will transfer from the airport to
the city center. Our group will meet at 12:30 p.m. in the lobby of our Bergen
hotel for an informational meeting. We then enjoy a guided tour of the historic
Bryggen section of Bergen, including a tour of the Hanseatic Museum, and later
a welcome dinner in this UNESCO World Heritage area.
Day 2: Bergen - Orientation and Hike in Balestrand.
After breakfast, we will walk to the pier, then travel by express boat up the
coast and through the Sognefjord to the village of Balestrand. Your hotel is
the historic Kvikne's Hotel, which dates back to 1877.
Balestrand lies between towering, snow-covered mountains and the majestic Sognefjord
in a beautiful and lush fjord landscape. The impressive scenery and the constantly
changing light brought many painters here to capture the fascinating play of
light on canvas. Art is still a major factor in today's Balestrand. Artists
either live here permanently or visit to exhibit their works. This afternoon
we will have a short orientation to Kvikne's Hotel and Balestrand, eat lunch
on our own at one of the many quaint fjord-side restaurants, and hike in the
forested areas above Balestrand.
Dinner tonight is Kvikne's famous smørgåsbord -- a huge selection
of Norwegian specialties including salads and cold & warm dishes, featuring
meats, fish, cheeses, vegetables, and more!
Day 3: Balestrand: Fruit Farm.
After your smørgåsbord breakfast, we walk to the Sogn Fruit Farm
and Cider House. The Cider House includes an orchard with many apple varieties
and a beautiful view of the Sognefjord. Enjoy a presentation of their farm and
cider production, followed by lunch. You have many choices for our afternoon,
which include exploring Balestrand on your own, hiking with your leaders, visiting
the Balestrand Aquarium, or perusing quaint shops. Dinner and overnight at Kvikne's
Day 4: Balestrand - Luster.
We have breakfast at Kvikne's Hotel and time at leisure until our 9:30 a.m.
departure to Leikanger and Nes Gård by mini-bus. At the local mini-mart,
prepare lunch, on your own, for our hike this afternoon. Before arriving at
Nes Gård we hike up Molden Mountain, located on a peninsula, which affords
a panoramic view of Lusterfjord. The hike leads us up through a forested area,
climbs through an area of broad stones, and ends at the summit. Here we relax,
have our lunch, and enjoy stunning views before returning by the same route
to our awaiting transportation for the short drive to Nes Gård. Molden
Mountain's summit is at 3,670 feet. During our hike we will ascend 1,700 vertical
feet and then descend this amount to return. At Nes Gård we enjoy dinner
and an informational meeting at our farmhouse accommodations.
Norway's longest and deepest fjord, the Sognefjord, lies in the heart of Fjord
Norway and extends more than 200 miles inland. The Lusterfjord is an "arm"
of the Sognefjord, surrounded by the glaciers and high mountains of the Jotunheimen
and Jostedalsbreen National Parks. Along both shores of the fjord there are
villages and lush landscapes where fruits and berries are grown on small, idyllic
farms, such as the quaint Nes Gård, our accommodations for the next five
Nes Gård overlooks the Lusterfjord, with newly renovated rooms in the
traditional farmhouse dating to the 1850s. We'll enjoy four guided day hikes
on good trails through a magnificent green landscape, with thundering waterfalls,
lonely homesteads, and summer farms up in the mountains. Please note that the
following proposed daily hiking itinerary is subject to adjustment depending
on safety considerations at the time, including weather conditions, trail conditions,
and suitability of the hike for our group.
Photo: Fred Weber
Day 5: Hike Vigdal - Navarsete (5 hours).
Start the day enjoying breakfast and packing your lunch. Today’s hike
passes the mountain farm Vigdalstøl and the top Fivlenosi, 4,000 feet
above sea level, with a view of the Jostedal Glacier, which is the largest glacier
in continental Europe -- covering 188 square miles and visible from miles around.
Our hike continues down through the green valley of Engedalen. We’ll have
ascended another 1,700 vertical feet today and descended 1,800 vertical feet
by the end of the day. Transport back to Nes Gård for dinner and overnight.
Day 6: Hike Morkridsdalen Valley.
After enjoying breakfast at Nes Gård and packing our lunch, we drive to
the upper end of the Lusterfjord and enter the Breheimen National Park. Hiking
up the Morkridsdalen Valley we enjoy close-up views of a glacial river then
walk past a lovely lake. After a steep but short climb our path goes through
a park-like landscape until we reach the summer farm buildings and pastures
at Dulsete where we enjoy our lunch. We then continue up the valley to view
several waterfalls before hiking down for our return to Nes Gård. This
hike is tremendously varied in terrain, vegetation, and viewpoints. Dinner and
overnight at Nes Gård.
Day 7: Jostedalsbreen National Park: Jostedal Glacier - Valley
Again, we'll eat breakfast and pack our lunches. Almost half of the Jostedalsbreen
National Park is covered by the Jostedalsbreen Glacier, which is the largest
glacier in mainland Europe. Today we'll experience the Jostedal Glacier up close!
First, we follow a river on a relatively flat trail for an hour and a half up
the Krundalen Valley to a viewpoint that overlooks the hanging Bergset glacier
(Bergsetbreen), one of several "arms" of the Jostedal Glacier. The
glacier arm drops sheer down the mountain face, an imposing sight. Afterward,
we will visit Nigardsbreen (Nigards Glacier), one of the more impressive of
Jostedal Glacier's 22 "arms" or "tongues." We'll travel
by boat across the lake, where we can walk right up to the glacier. Enjoy your
lunch at the glacier's terminal moraine as we admire the blue-ice glacier a
few feet in front of where we sit. Afterward, if time permits, we will take
an afternoon walk in a nearby valley. Return to Nes Gård for dinner and
Day 8: Drive around the Lusterfjord - Urnes State Church -
After breakfast we pack our lunch and set off for a full day of cultural and
hiking activities around the scenic Lusterfjord. We first visit the idyllic
village of Solvorn, which has only one street and 200 inhabitants. From Solvorn
we take a small ferry boat across the Lusterfjord to visit the Urnes Stave Church,
built around 1150. It is Norway's oldest stave church and is featured on the
UNESCO World Heritage List. Our next destination is the beautiful Feigumfossen
waterfall, the second highest waterfall in Norway, with a vertical drop of 710
feet. We follow the trail a short distance to a viewpoint where we can get a
better look. This is our chance to get close to the waterfall we have been admiring
at a distance from our farmhouse at Nes Gård over the past several days.
After lunch we complete our full-circle drive around the Lusterfjord and return
to Nes Gård for a farewell dinner and overnight.
Day 9: Luster - Oslo.
Our luggage will be picked up this morning for separate transfer to Oslo. After
eating breakfast and packing our lunch we transfer by private van to Flam. We
will depart by Flam Railway (Flamsbana) at 11:30 a.m. Widely regarded as one
of the most exciting train trips in Europe, it is one of the world's steepest
standard-guage railways, with a gradient of 5.5% as we ascend to the village
of Myrdal. From Myrdal we continue on the Bergen Railway (Northern Europe's
highest altitude rail line), traveling across the mountains, the "Roof
of Norway," and arrive in Oslo at 5:30 p.m. Transfer to our Oslo hotel
for overnight. An orientation to the Oslo area will be given by your leaders.
Dinner on your own.
Photo: Fred Weber
Day 10: Oslo City Tour.
After your smørgåsbord breakfast, enjoy a full day city tour of
Norway’s capital city. Our local guide will include information on history,
general cultural information, and details about Norway’s social system.
We’ll take a variety of local public transportation today to visit selected
sites and then explore on foot the Oslo city center, including the Parliament,
City Hall (site of the annual Nobel Peace Prize ceremony), and Vigeland sculpture
park (also called Frogner Park), which features works in bronze and granite
by sculptor Gustav Vigeland. After enjoying lunch on your own, we’ll visit
the Viking Ship Museum, which houses two restored Viking ships excavated with
several of the treasures that had been buried with them. The tour ends at the
Norwegian Folk Museum, a wonderful collection of historic structures from around
the country. If time permits, a visit to the Nobel Peace Center is suggested,
which is best done without a guide. This Center opened in 2005 and is an excellent
exhibition featuring the Nobel Laureates -- and the topics of Peace and Conflict
through time -- worldwide. Enjoy a farewell dinner hosted by your trip leaders.
Day 11: Departure from Oslo.
Breakfast and train departure transfer to the Oslo airport (included in your
trip cost) -- or extend your stay in Norway!
You are welcome to make your own travel plans to Bergen and from Oslo to your
home destination, or alternatively, we can recommend the agency that helps to
make our arrangements in Norway. The agency contact information will be provided
to registered and approved trip participants at a later date. Ultimately, it
is each participant’s responsibility to be present at our Bergen hotel
by noon on August 1.
Accommodations and Food
Photo: Fred Weber
We will stay in a variety of three- to four-star quality hotels on a bed &
breakfast arrangement. Our hotel rooms are double-occupancy and equipped with
a shower and bathroom. While our group is situated on the spectacular Lusterfjord
in the middle of Fjord Norway, we will stay at the beautiful farm bed &
breakfast called Nes Gård. Please note that a private bath cannot be guaranteed
at the farmhouse in Nes Gård. There is no camping or tent lodging on this
trip. A roommate will be provided for solo travelers. Participants who prefer
to have a single room and are willing to pay the difference should contact the
leader well in advance to check for availability. Single room allocation, if
necessary, will first be used for any forced single. Forced single is the situation
that our group has an odd number of men or women registered for the trip.
The hotels that we use are often traditional family-run establishments, full
of ambience and colorful local history. Although the rooms in these lodgings
are not always of uniform or international size, your trip leader and local
guide always try their best to assign rooms provided to us from our lodging
management in a fair way so that all participants experience an equal advantage
throughout the trip as a whole. The Nes Gård farmhouse has been renovated
in traditional style from the 1850s. Surrounded by magnificent mountains and
wonderful hiking trails, it is the perfect base for our guided hikes by our
host and owner of the farm.
All breakfasts, five lunches, and nine dinners are included in the cost of
the trip. The first meal included in the cost of the trip will be dinner on
day one and the last meal included will be breakfast on day 11. By not including
the cost of some lunches and dinners in the trip price, we are giving trip members
the opportunity to experience a wider choice of the region's delicious foods.
The leader will provide an estimate of the costs of these extra items in a pre-departure
bulletin. We will generally eat lunch and dinner at local cafes, restaurants,
and, on occasion, dinner at our hotel. We will have packed lunches for our day
hikes during our stay at Nes Gård. Our dinners while at the farmhouse
in Nes Gård will be family-style. The majority of the restaurants and
cafes offer some vegetarian dishes and will attempt to satisfy special dietary
needs. However, there may be times when vegetarian or special diets cannot be
accommodated. Please inform the leader of dietary restrictions when completing
your trip application.
The trip is ideal for veteran European travelers/hikers as well as those with
at least an intermediate level of hiking skills that are new to the European
experience and open to the richness of Norwegian culture. The trip is best suited
for energetic, flexible people who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure
and a positive attitude. As you can tell from the daily itinerary, we have packed
a tremendous variety of activities into our 11-day Western Fjord adventure.
Some sections or hiking trails in the Lusterfjord region can be considered moderately
strenuous. Our day hikes in this region will often involve steep climbs and
descents (up to a total 3,800-foot elevation change on some days), and can be
over tough terrain. Such is the nature of hiking in the Western Fjord region
of Norway. You should have the requisite hiking skills and at the same time
feel comfortable hiking four to six hours per day on-trail over rough terrain
for the three days in the Lusterfjord region, carrying a day pack of about 10
pounds. Excluding the trail hiking portion of the program, the balance of the
trip is classified as moderately active. Keep in mind that foreign travel can
be tiring, so if you don't have patience and a sense of humor, this is not your
The trip is suitable for most active people, old or young, single or married.
Additionally, the trip will appeal to those with an interest in Norwegian culture,
history, and natural beauty. During the trip we will travel in elevations ranging
from sea level to 4,000 feet. We will be traveling by a variety of public and
private transportation modes including minivan, coach, train, tram, and boat.
There will be some walking most days, and some free time for individual pursuits.
All of the hikes are optional, but participation will considerably enhance your
enjoyment of the trip. Expect temperature variations from the 40s to the 70s
degree Fahrenheit during our trip. Summer is a lovely time to visit the Western
Fjord region of Norway and will be less crowded than the peak summer tourism
Equipment and Clothing
A suggested list of equipment and clothing will be sent to registered trip
participants. You will be restricted to what you can stuff into one medium-sized
luggage piece, weighing no more than a recommended 30 pounds, which you may
be required to transfer yourself from time to time, on and off whatever mode
of transportation (boat, coach, train) we use to travel. There are no porters,
so be kind to yourself: travel light! You should also take a day pack in which
you can stuff raingear, a sweater or jacket, a one-quart bottle, and lunch or
a snack, as well as a camera with accessories if you so desire. The most important
items: a sturdy, comfortable pair of walking shoes and sturdy hiking boots,
with two or three changes of socks; a reliable set of waterproof raingear; a
hat with visor or brim; and sun block.
- To enjoy the country and its people to the fullest, you will want to acquaint
yourself with the history, religion, and culture of Norway. The leader will
suggest a list of books to each trip member in pre-trip correspondence.
Photo: Fred Weber
The glaciers and global warming: The Norwegian glaciers dramatically evidence
the global climate change. During the 1990s, the glaciers advanced briefly,
but now the effects of warming can be seen many places.
Nine of the twenty highest waterfalls in the world are in Norway, and many
of these cascade down the mountainside of Fjord Norway. The waterfalls are not
just beautiful to look at; they are also important sources of energy. Norway
accounts for almost 5% of the world's entire hydroelectric power (HEP) production.
HEP is the most important source of energy in the country, providing 99% of
its electricity. However, most waterfalls in the country are still untamed,
and some of them are protected to ensure they remain that way.
Norway has established 29 national parks in order to conserve the diversity
of Norwegian nature. Each national park is an area offering protection to special
natural environments, flora, and fauna.
This trip requires a $200 per-person deposit. An additional payment of $300 per person is due six months prior to trip departure. International trip prices are subject to change and are based on double-occupancy or group accommodations as described above. Single rooms may not be available or may cost more than the listed price. If you have any questions regarding double occupancy, please contact the trip leader.
See the How to Apply for an Outing
section for more details on registering for this trip and details
about our Reservation and Cancellation
The payment of a deposit does not confirm you as a member on the
trip. Participants must be approved by the trip leader. After signing
up for this trip, you will be sent a confirmation packet containing
approval materials (Participant Approval Questionnaire, Medical
Form, Liability Release Form). Each applicant (including those on
the waitlist) must fill out these forms and promptly mail them to
the trip leader. The leader will review the approval materials and
notify you of your acceptance in a timely manner.
The Sierra Club accurately and fairly budgets and prices our trips. However, unforeseen costs such as devaluation of the dollar compared to other currencies and fuel surcharges assessed by our international providers may necessitate adjustment in trip price. We will make every effort to mitigate and absorb these fees. If a price increase is necessary, however, you will have 14 days after announcement to cancel without penalty.
Chip Wolfe has hiked on four continents and prefers day hiking to backpacking. He is trained as a Wilderness First Responder. He loves to engage with earnest people on topics of mutual interest. His career includes positions in radio astronomy, software development, and solar energy. He is determined to retire, but always seems to fall short of the mark. His inability to limit his efforts to create a sustainable ranch is one example.
Angela White lives in Lake Tahoe with Les Atkins, her significant other and their two dogs. She is excited to share the beauty of this country with you.
General Notes About Sierra Club Trips